The NFL Preseason has begun, which means a new fantasy football season is right around the corner. With owners looking at multiple ranking sheets and mock drafts, names and numbers can all blur together. One thing that shouldn’t be forgotten is Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen will finish as a top-five fantasy option in 2014.
The top five fantasy-scoring tight ends last year were Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez (retired), Julius Thomas, Vernon Davis and Jordan Cameron. Except for Graham, it will be tough for these players to repeat as a reliable fantasy option. There are plenty of other great options on the upswing, ready to overtake them and Olsen is one of them.
The Panthers passing game took a big hit after the 2013 season. The team no longer has Steve Smith or Brandon LaFell, two veteran options for Cam Newton. The starting two wide receivers will likely be Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant, neither of whom have been fantasy relevant.
This will benefit Olsen, who had a career high in receptions last year with 73. Over the last two seasons, Olsen hauled in 142 passes for 1,659 yards and 11 touchdowns. He finished ninth in fantasy scoring last year, mere points behind Charles Clay and Antonio Gates.
Olsen is currently ranked as the seventh-best tight end heading into 2014. He will be drafted in standard 10-team leagues, but not very early. Current ADP projections have Olsen being drafted in the eight round, but I could see him falling even further.
If Olsen falls to you in round nine or 10, snag him. He has great value as Newton’s No. 1 target, especially that late in drafts.